Found Poetry

Adapting the Text
Ongoing Activity
Grades 6–12
Language Arts, Art, History
Small Group, Writing, Oral Presentation, Visual Arts


  • Through the creation of spontaneous poetry, students will add to their understanding of Travels with Charley and its characters, settings, plot elements, symbols, themes, conflicts, figurative language and so on.
  • Students, in groups of two or three, will collaborate with each other to create a fun and original found poem based on any aspect of Travels with Charley.
  • Students will exercise their public speaking skills (in small groups) when presenting their found poems to the class.


This is a fun and creative activity during any time of the year, but teachers can apply this specifically to Travels with Charley. Through spontaneous poetry, students will learn more about Travels with Charley.

Caveat: Although a lot of fun, this can be a chaotic activity, especially with large class sizes. Teachers need to make sure they continually monitor students during the process. This is also a “messy” (pieces of paper on the floor, etc.) activity, and teachers should have students “clean up as they go along.” Teachers should allow about ten minutes for a general clean-up before the period ends.

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • Before starting this project, students need to bring in magazines and newspapers. It is also a good idea for teachers to supply periodicals as well, since not all students will bring them to class.
  • Glue
  • Large construction paper or poster boards
  • Scissors
  • Large box
  • Markers

Estimated Time

About 2 class periods (maybe part of a third, depending on the class size).


  • Students, in groups of two or three, will cut out words/letters from the periodicals and place them in a communal box. Words/letters should be of varying size and color. Emphasize to the students that the words they are cutting out are not necessarily the ones they will be using for their found poems.
  • Once a sufficient amount of words/letters are collected, students in pairs, or threes, randomly draw out a handful of words to create Travels with Charley-related poems by pasting words/letters on large construction paper or poster boards.
    Poems should relate to the themes, settings, figurative language, symbols, conflicts, characters, etc. found in Travels with Charley.
  • ~See also Show Don't Tell and Discussion Topics by Section
  • Student groups may trade words/letters with other groups.
    Student groups may also enhance their found poetry posters with illustrations using markers.
  • Playing some of the students’ favorite music during this activity can be especially motivating.
  • After completion, student groups will orally present their poems to the class and then post them on classroom walls. Student groups will also post an additional page on the wall (next to their found poem) for the comments of others.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up


  • Students will enjoy seeing their found poems on the wall and re-reading the work of other groups.
  • Students can leave respectful comments about poems on a special page (on the wall next to the found poems).


  • Students can discuss the “wall” comments of others.
  • Students can use “found poetry” for almost any activity.


  • During the project, teachers will make sure students are on task and are meeting the objectives. Generally, a project such as this is not graded; however, it is an option.

California State Content Standards Met

  • Visual Arts: Content Standards 6-12
  • ~Artistic Perception: 1
  • ~Creative Expression: 2
  • ~Connections, Relationships, Applications: 5

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1,2,3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4
  • ~Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: 10
  • Writing Standards 6-12
  • ~Text Types and Purposes: 3
  • ~Production and Distribution of Writing: 4,5
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 8
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1,2
  • Language Standards 6-12
  • ~Conventions of Standard English: 1,2
  • ~Knowledge of Language: 3
  • ~Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 4,5,6
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1,2
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4
  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • ~Production and Distribution of Writing: 4,5
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 7

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